Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son, 1819–1823

Saturn Devouring His Son is a painting by Francisco Goya. It is part of a series of 14 painting called “The Black Paintings”—so named because of their dark pigments and somber tones—completed during the later years in his life when he had become isolated, bitter, and fearing both madness and death. These “Black Paintings” were murals he painted directly onto the walls of his home. Saturn Devouring His Son was located in his dining room.

Goya himself never named these paintings. He never discussed these painting with anyone and never intended for them to be viewed by the public.

The dark and disturbing piece depicts the myth of the Titan God Cronos, Romanized here as Saturn, who, obsessed with preventing a prophecy in which he is overthrown by his son from coming true. promptly eats each of his children moments after birth.

Most artistic renderings of the myth depict Cronus with a powerful and God-like appearance and distinctly unsympathetic disposition and the child is usually an infant as in the stories. Here Goya has painted Cronus as a dirty and dishevelled madman appearing almost ashamed of his act. Here his child in not a baby but a full-grown man headless and dripping blood.

The disturbing nature of Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son is exactly what makes it such a fascinating work, and among my favorite paintings. What disturbs us about it is how human Goya has made this inhumane act. It is not a God devouring another God who will later rise to power and overthrow him as he did his own father. No, this is a God made in man’s image. This is a father murdering his child out of fear and jealousy. This is a final, disgusting, and evil act.

Octopus Dreaming // Nature on PBS

“She’s asleep; she sees a crab and her color starts to change a little bit. Then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom.

This is a camouflage, like she’s just subdued a crab and now she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her. It’s a very unusual behavior, to see the color come and go on her mantle like that. I mean, just to be able to see all the different color patterns just flashing one after another — you don’t usually see that when an animal’s sleeping. This really is fascinating.”

David Scheel


“Octopuses are smart animals that can use toolsrecognize individual people, and even solve puzzles. But perhaps the most mesmerizing example of octopus intelligence occurs when they are sleeping—and, potentially, dreaming.

This week, PBS released new footage of an octopus named Heidi shifting through flashy camouflage displays in her sleep. Much like human behaviors such as sleep-talking or sleep-walking, Heidi’s multi-hued transformations may be an expression of her dreams.”

Please Relax to This Video of an Octopus Changing Colors As It Naps // Vice

“The truth is that there are two ways in which the future can become obsolete. One is through the inability to imagine the New: in this model, the idea of building a Tower never occurs to us; we are content to stay on the ground. The other happens when the New becomes so perpetual and unrelenting, when the construction of the Tower becomes so consuming, that we no longer have the luxury or the inclination to look up… You cannot have a future without a sense of the past, and there is no quicker way to make both obsolete than by insisting on the urgency and the singularity of the present.”

— Meghan O’Gieblyn on deep time and Long Now’s 10,000-year clock (via Erica Avey)

René Magritte, Le Seize Septembre, 1956

“I have just painted the moon on a tree in the blue-gray colors of evening. [Poet Louis] Scutenair has come up with a very beautiful title: Le seize septembre. I think it ‘fits,’ so from September 16th on, we’ll call it done.”

— Rene Magritte, Magritte: The True Art of Painting (via Austin Kleon)

Neither the spider has planned for the leaf nor the leaf for the spider—and yet there they are, an accidental pendulum propelled by the same forces that cradle the moons of Jupiter in orbit, animated into this ephemeral early-morning splendor by eternal cosmic laws impervious to beauty and indifferent to meaning, yet replete with both to the bewildered human consciousness beholding it.”

— Maria Popova, Figuring (via Erica Avey)

Frida Kahlo, Sun and Life, 1947

“The subject of fertility appears one more time in this work. As a rather strange still life, Frida depicts plants-flowers-seeds-vaginas in process of gestation: the flowers’ pistils are drops of semen impregnating the ovum inside. A fetus is crying, just as is the third eye of the sun. Once again, Frida has had to face the loss of a child.”

(via Google Arts and Culture)